Business

Renton has been on the 'radar screen' for new chmaber president

Lynn Wallace is the new president and CEO of the Renton Chamber of commerce, seen here in front of the chamber
Lynn Wallace is the new president and CEO of the Renton Chamber of commerce, seen here in front of the chamber's downtown office.
— image credit: Dean Radford, Renton Reporter

A self-described “chamber junkie” is the new president and CEO of the Renton Chamber of Commerce.

Lynn Wallace took over the top job of the roughly 500-member chamber last week, following longtime CEO Bill Taylor, who retired last year.

The chamber’s chief operating officer, Sabrina Mirante, had served as interim CEO.

Wallace comes to Renton after serving about two years as CEO of the Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce, based in Tukwila. But Renton has been on her professional “radar screen” – if the top chamber job ever became available.

She’s attracted to the community, the large industry in the city and the size of Renton itself, she says.

One of Wallace’s first efforts is to sit down with the chamber’s directors and strategic planning committee “to take a look at what are we doing,” she said. That was one of the chamber board priorities during the interview, she said.

The assessment would include whether programs are effective and relevant to the chamber and its members, she said

“I also believe that everything should have the opportunity to be successful,” she said. “Let’s take a look at new ideas and see if we can create some new programs and make things happen.”

The chamber has more than 500 members, but there are “definitely opportunities” to add new ones, she said. She’d like to add a staff member who will concentrate on attracting new members to the chamber.

“I think for myself, Sabrina and the rest of the staff, they need to continue to foster and promote the programs of the organization and have someone solely focused on selling what the good is of the chamber,” she said.

The key to a strong chamber, she said, are strong programs of interest to the business community.

While she doesn’t have any specific goals in mind yet, Wallace right off wants to get to know the business community and the rest of Renton.

“I want to reach out to the community, making connections to the community,” she said.

Last year, the Renton chamber moved to its new headquarters on South Fourth Street downtown, an historic train depot that still retains that flavor.

Wallace will work with the chamber board and leadership to develop a capital campaign to help retire the building’s mortgage and make some improvements, what she called “a big focus” for the board and staff.

“The chamber is financially stable right now,” she said.

What the chamber does is important to the community, too, as its work “impacts everyone overall,” she said. The work includes programs in schools and job-training programs, including at Renton Technical College.

“That will benefit our members and the community at large,” she said.

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